To put a country on a highway of progress and development, the nation should take care of three things - political culture, education and healthcare services, says M Inamul Haque, a former senior public servant.
He adds Bangladesh is now struggling at every front for a better political culture, better education and better health services.
Inamul Haque, now chairman of the Institute of Water and Environment, regrets that innocent students are hired for political programmes. “That is making them corrupt citizens before they even enter professional life,” he told Prothom Alo in an
He said corruption is ruling the service sectors. For instance, he pointed out, all the public and private schools and teachers have to obey the decisions of the political leaders and members of parliament in the respective areas. “The educational institutions should be free from the clutch of the political masters,” he insisted.
Inamul Haque, however, expressed optimism that a huge number of youth could emerge as the rescue force for the country once they have been guided properly.
He shared his observations and experiences on matters of pertaining to institutions with Prothom Alo.
The full text of the interview is given below:
Prothom Alo: How do you comprehend today’s politics?
Inamul Haque: If you look into the political culture of the country, you will see the politicians neither have any political mandate nor any people’s mandate. The politicians have a different kind of mandate, and that is the ‘mandate to be corrupt.’
Nowadays, every political party either has student affiliation or it’s a student wing. I’m vehemently against it. I think this is making them more corrupt. Most of the time, the students are hired for political programmes. That is downsizing them to become corrupt citizens.
Another alarming thing is the voters are not aware of their individual political rights. On the other hand, political leaders are giving them no space to get the rights.
Prothom Alo: What about education?
Inamul Haque: All the public and private schools and teachers of those institutions have to comply with the decisions of the political leaders and members of parliament in their respective areas. They even have to ‘serve them’. The innocent pupils are also being used for their political purposes. But, the teachers should only be accountable to the guardians.
So, the schools should be free from the clutch of the political masters. It will make the teachers more accountable to the guardians of the students and help improve the quality of the education.
Prothom Alo: What about the health services?
Inamul Haque: The government hospitals should have been developed more than the private ones. It should have a pro-people mandate. But, it is now a far cry. There is no publicity of the government institutions either. There is a negative publicity, instead. People have to go to private hospitals for better services. They are being exploited there. The physicians lure the patients to go to private hospitals.
Meanwhile, corruption has engulfed the service sectors. The trend of such corruption entered the government service sectors sometime in the 1990s. It was an anathema before the 1990s, but has now been socially accepted. Corruption is strangling the service sectors to death.
The existing environment promotes corruption. When young professionals start their careers, they do so with honesty and integrity. But at one point of time, they turn to corruption.
In the late nineties, corruption took a serious turn and it made an entry into the private sector.
Prothom Alo: How do you compare the youth of your time and today’s?
Inamul Haque: Today’s youth is quite different from that of my time. There was a kind of simplicity among them back then. They had an immense appetite to know, to learn something new. They used to respect their seniors. The society had strong social norms and values. They believed, thanks to the then social culture, they can shine if they work hard and learn. The culture started decaying in 1980s when money started gaining grounds in the society.
In Bangladesh today, there is a huge youth population. The majority of the population is now young. I think Bangladesh can be changed overnight by its youth force. Every young person has the capability and mindset to do something good for society. They are critical of anything evil and have comparatively good knowledge thanks to the internet and other modern technology.
I personally think whatever bad habits are seen among them is because of the social environment.
Another positive thing is a number of youth are going abroad and assimilating the culture there. Young people are settling there. We should create opportunities to bring them back and implement their knowledge here in their motherland. If you look at the Bangladeshi youths who have already left the country, they are doing great abroad.
There is the grave concern. As the youth have easy access to everything, they have become rather self-centred. They know what’s happening in Norway or in Australia, but nothing about their neighbours who live next door. Due to the technological development, the youth know more about their rights better than ever before, but they are less aware of their social responsibilities.